Against the Island’s Legislature.Here are a few questions which thinking people in Jersey will want to consider:
How many of the island’s judges did you vote for?
Did you elect the Bailiffs and Deputy Bailiffs?
Did you like their criteria for appointing other judges – their friends – as Commissioners?
Was it their policy of appointing their best friends as magistrates, to then preside over cases they were directly interested and conflicted in, which appealed to you?
Were you confident that that whole assemblage of patriarchs, oligarchs, potentates and vassals would do a far better job of making laws for Jersey than the democratically elected members of the island’s parliament could ever do?
Perhaps you felt that the island’s legislature – and the process of approval by Her Majesty-in-Council - would often get it wrong when introducing laws – so a coterie of local lawyers was needed to reverse those legislative “mistakes”?
You didn’t vote for any of these people – and don’t even have the ability to - and never approved any such transfer of what should be democratically accountable power from your politicians, to un-elected, self-selecting, self-protecting lawyers?
Well then you’re going to have to become familiar with the concept of ‘judge-made law’ – and in the context of Jersey how judge-made laws are not confined to a measured development from democratically accountable legislation, but instead can be a diametric opposition to it.
In the brief video below I spend a few minutes addressing the question of what is known as “judge-made law”, and the failure of the UK authorities to meet their own policy and their self-declared legal obligations in respect of the Crown Dependency of Jersey.
In the next posting, we’ll take a closer look at judge-made law, in the Crown Dependency of Jersey in particular. How many readers, I wonder, are familiar with the Latin legal maxim stare decisis?
It may seem dull, I know – but it’s by such arcanery that lawyers can usurp democracy and have an effect on your lives. And no matter how bad the average politician is – remember – lawyers are always worse: infinitely expensive – usually incompetent - devoid of ethics or any sense of moral hazard – and democratically unaccountable.
As John Keats said:
“I think we may class the lawyer in the natural history of monsters.”